There’s a fancy new beer store near me, so you know I had to check it out…….a lot. And of course, I went back with my camera.
Beer & Wine Express is located in Cherokee, NC just off of Highway 74 on Highway 441 North. For me this is just a scenic drive a couple exits up from Bryson City. It is a family owned business and they have made me feel more than welcome every time I’ve visited. The building is brand new and the store is always spotless and orderly. They have a very large floor plan with a lot of room for growth.
The craft beer selection contains all my favorites and many I have yet to try. The shelves are stocked with plenty of brews from right here in North Carolina. I’ve also picked up beers from all over the US that I’ve never seen here. I wish I could give you the full list, guess you’ll just have to check it out for yourself.
I was enjoying a leisurely morning at the house when my friend Ben called.
“Are you at La Dolce Vita?”
“No, I’m at home.”
“They’re moving tanks in at Mountain Layers Brewing.”
I got dressed, grabbed my camera, and headed out the door. He was right. Right now, even as I type, they are moving in shiny new tanks. This is a huge step for them. A lot of hard work has accumulated to this moment. The place is buzzing, and they aren’t even making beer yet!
As I made my way down Everett Street today I could see the big wooden crates out front and began to feel the excitement. Upon arrival, I shook hands with owner Mark Pettit and asked to take photos. Kim Pettit took me in through the back door to show me how close things were getting inside. I felt like I was part of the experience. Mark and Kim make everyone feel that way. I was happy to see the teamwork going into getting the tanks unloaded and moved inside, which is not an easy feat. Along side owner Mark and brewer Noah McIntee was Greg Geiger, brewmaster from Nantahala Brewing Company. A beautiful sign of community, businesses working together to bring more people into our small mountain town.
I will be making my way back over for more photos once all the tanks are in place. I always love being a part of the action. I am posting some photos from this morning for you to enjoy. Can’t wait for these things to be filled with liquid goodness!
Mountain Layers Brewing Company is located at 90 Everett Street in Bryson City, NC. Check out their website or follow them on Facebook to keep up with the progress.
One of my favorite places in Bryson City to hide out and enjoy a craft pint is The Cork & Bean Bistro. Their beer selection is always fresh and always centered around North Carolina’s finest. During a recent visit, while sipping a deliciously spicy brew from Mystery Brewing, the bartender asked, “Why do you always have a beer? When are you going to try one of my cocktails?” I believe my response was, “I’m a craft beer drinker and writer, and I think I found a way to write off beer as a business expense.” He asked how he could get me to write about him. I told him he would have to use beer or something from a tap. I wonder how long he thought about that…..
Brad is a mixologist who prefers to be called a “geeky bartender”. With a curled up mustache and his knowledge of fancy bitters, this suits him well. We often find him entertaining guests with his drink knowledge and sparkling personality. He has tended bars in more places than most of us have lived, picking up new ideas for new drinks along the way. He invented the cocktail menu for Cork & Bean, and it is extensive. The names of the drinks play off of the fact that this bistro is located in an historic building that once housed Bryson City Bank.
The drink that finally puts Brad in my blog is the Bank Draft. Needing something involving beer, he used Duck Rabbit’s Milk Stout to cook up a new syrup, a salted espresso stout syrup! I tried the syrup by itself and loved it, so I made plans to come back after work and have a drink. Brad reserved two seats at the bar for me and my husband. Once seated, he mixed the drink right in front of us. Another couple sitting to our right began asking questions about Brad’s mixes and bitters. He is very knowledgeable and doesn’t mind sharing what he knows. Even with a packed house, the entertainment never stopped. The flavor profile of my cocktail was very complex, my palette and mind were doing flips. Not being a huge liquor drinker, I was impressed at how strong the drink was yet I could still feel all those different hits to my taste buds. The ingredient I had to look up in this cocktail was the Burlesque Bitters. The primary flavors are Hibiscus flower and sour berries, but there is definitely a peppery spice to it as well. Loved it!
Now this was just one drink on a very thorough list! I highly recommend going out and trying one for yourself. Call ahead for reservations and to make sure Brad is working. You won’t regret it.
Thanks to Brad, the geeky bartender for helping us expand our horizons. If you havn’t had the chance to enjoy one of his cocktails, it’s time to find your seat at the bar in Bryson City.
Mark and Kim Pettit have been vacationing in Bryson City for 15 years. I had the pleasure of meeting them several years ago during one of their many visits to Nantahala Brewing Company. Sharing a love for craft beer and music, and a passion for people, we hit it off. I’d look forward to seeing them every year, either in the brewery while I was working or in the audience at various performances. These were two people who genuinely loved people, art, music, and the beauty of our small mountain town. Lovers of the finer, yet simpler, things in life.
The renovation of the building they chose in Bryson City started awhile back and has had everyone’s curiosity peaked. Is it going to be a restaurant? A bar? It looked cool, like a place I’d love to hang out. Imagine how happy I was to find out it was going to become Mountain Layers Brewing Company! And then even more excited to find out that it was Mark and Kim who were opening it!
Since they’ve moved to Bryson City full-time, I’ve looked forward to getting together with them, but building a brewery from the ground up takes a lot of your time. Mark and Kim have a kind of excitement about life that radiates. It makes you want to get pumped. This past Monday I had the opportunity to stop in and see how the place was coming along. Their enthusiasm made it very easy to get excited for them and their future. They have been working hard and are looking to have beer on tap sometime before the end of this year. Mountain Layers will have a bar on two levels. The downstairs bar will give patrons a view of the brewhouse. You’ll be able to enjoy a beer and watch the magic happen! The bar upstairs will be a little bigger and has a rooftop deck with amazing views of historic downtown Bryson City, the Tuckaseegee River, and the surrounding Smoky Mountains. I can already see where my regular seat is going to be….
Even though Mark and Kim have some brewing experience under their belts, they didn’t want to get in over their heads. Going from home brewing to a full scale brewery has its share of challenges. In order to keep them ahead of the game they have recruited some outside help. Noah McIntee is joining the team as Head Brewer and General Manager. Noah comes to Mountain Layers by way of Lazy Hiker Brewing Co. in Franklin. In their recent press release, Noah had this to say, “Mountain Layers is being built on an infectious passion for community and people – two of the core traits that define craft beer culture. I’m honored to be working with Mark & Kim in this exciting venture that embraces and explores the many layers of this amazing region.” Mark and Kim commented, “Noah brings a commitment to quality and creativity as well as a genuine embrace of the community.”
Mountain Layers Brewing Company is planning to open this fall. Autumn just cannot get here fast enough. Find them on Facebook to keep up with their progress and plans for opening.
Mountain Layers Brewing Company™ is going to be a 7 barrel craft microbrewery and taproom. Located on Everett Street in beautiful downtown Bryson City alongside the Tuckaseegee River. Located in Swain County at the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains, the new brewery is built on the belief that the mountains have layers of history, cultures, and people which are all reflected in our ancient blue mountains stacked one after the other to the horizon.
In Bryson City, North Carolina, Anthony’s Pizza has always been a popular place for locals and tourists alike. I mean, who doesn’t love a New York style pizza? Plus, you can get a pie to-go and walk two doors down to enjoy it at Nantahala Brewing Company.
Now you don’t have to leave to get a good beverage. Last year, on top of an amazing makeover of the restaurant, they added a separate bar and lounge for the grown-ups. Dubbed Derailed, this lounge offers amazing cocktails, wine, and, of course craft beer. Situated just across the street from the depot of The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, it’s in the hub of town making it a great place to people watch! Plus, the porch is kid and dog friendly and there’s live music on Saturday nights. However, if you’re trying to escape the hustle and bustle, kids and dogs, then step inside and find yourself a cozy corner to hide-away. The lounge area is 21 and up. Seating ranges from bar stools and tables to velvet sofas and leather recliners.
I love this environment. A place where everyone can drink together regardless of their choice of beverage. My last stop in found me at the bar enjoying a draft Green Man ESB and laughing with a stranger who was sipping a high dollar glass of wine. Her partner enjoyed a regular ol’ beer and a shot of whiskey. Something for everyone. I always scope out the craft beer bottle list, as their selection rotates. They also have a couple microbrews on tap. We’ve found beers from New Belgium, Green Man, Lazy Hiker, Sierra Nevada, Founders, Natty Greene’s , Brewery Ommegang , and more.
So, whether you’re looking to share a cold brew and a hot pizza with friends or enjoy a cocktail all by yourself, this is a great place to check out on your next visit to the mountains. This little town is full of surprises!
There’s a classy little place on the corner of Main and Everett Streets in the historic downtown area of Bryson City, North Carolina. The Cork & Bean Bistro is a part of the new Everett Boutique Hotel & Bistro. The restaurant is open to the public and known for their great food which focuses on locally grown and organic ingredients. The lounge has a full bar, a fine wine selection, and craft beer. The beautiful wood of the bar, the rustic wooden chairs and tables, and the warm lighting represent the natural beauty of the area with elegance. The staff are friendly folks from all over who have come to call the mountains home and have a grand appreciation of their surroundings.
Oh yes, and there’s craft beer. That’s what brought us in. The bistro currently has eight taps where they rotate various beers from the growing brewery scene of the Carolinas. We have enjoyed beers from The Unknown Brewing Company, Mother Earth Brewing, and Foothills Brewing in recent visits. They are currently featuring two delicious beers from Lazy Hiker Brewing; a Coffee Stout and one of the brewery’s flagship brews, the Slack Pack IPA. They also have an Amber Ale and Milk Stout from Duck Rabbit Brewery, Railhouse Brewery‘s Ka-Bar Brown, and a few flavors from Nantahala Brewing Company which is in walking distance to the bistro. No matter which beer you choose, the lines are always clean and they probably have the perfect food to pair it with.
So next time you are in Bryson, stop in and enjoy a tasty Carolina craft brew in style.